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Turbulence Models and Model Closure Coefficients Sensitivity of NASCAR Racecar RANS CFD Aerodynamic Predictions

Cost benefit and teraflop restrictions imposed by racing sanctioning bodies make steady-state RANS CFD simulation a widely accepted first approximation tool for aerodynamics evaluations in motorsports, in spite of its limitations. Research involving generic and simplified vehicle bodies has shown that the veracity of aerodynamic CFD predictions strongly depends on the turbulence model being used. Also, the ability of a turbulence model to accurately predict aerodynamic characteristics can be vehicle shape dependent as well. Modifications to the turbulence model coefficients in some of the models have the potential to improve the predictive capability for a particular vehicle shape. This paper presents a systematic study of turbulence modeling effects on the prediction of aerodynamic characteristics of a NASCAR Gen-6 Cup racecar. Steady-state RANS simulations are completed using a commercial CFD package, STAR-CCM+, from CD-Adapco.